Punchbowl News Strikes Deal to Buy Data Start-Up

Since leaving Politico three years ago, the founders of the Washington news start-up Punchbowl News have made their mark with aggressive inside-the-Beltway coverage, breaking news on the Capitol riot, the messy ouster of Speaker Kevin McCarthy and the death of Senator Dianne Feinstein of California.

Now, they opening a new avenue for reaching political obsessives by acquiring a start-up that tracks legislation making its way through Congress.

Punchbowl News said Thursday that it was acquiring Electo Analytics, a company that provides data to help decipher and analyze legislation. The stock deal values Punchbowl News at more than $100 million, according to two people familiar with the transaction.

The deal is a sign of an increasingly popular approach among digital news start-ups. Instead of trying to cover the whole world and rely on advertising, the outlets are focused on narrow lanes of coverage that people are willing to pay for.

“The trade publication for the digital age is up-to-the-moment, delivered to you immediately and gives you something that you don’t otherwise know,” said Ken Doctor, a media analyst and entrepreneur. “Usually some combination of really important data, breaking news and interpretation.”

Jake Sherman, Anna Palmer, John Bresnahan and Rachel Schindler, the Politico alumni who co-founded Punchbowl News, planned from the start to offer data as part of a pitch to subscribers, who pay $300 a year for their membership, said Ms. Palmer, 41, Punchbowl’s chief executive. The start-up — named for the secret service code name for the Capitol building — has been in talks with Electo Analytics since this summer, hammering out the broad strokes of the deal during dinner over Labor Day weekend, Ms. Palmer said.

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